Please tell me why I shouldn't keep my family's old silver plate.

susankaJanuary 14, 2012

I'm in the middle of a whole-house reorganization and cleaning. I have 94 pieces of 75+ years old silver-plated flatware. It's tarnished, but is decent stuff, Wallace, Wm. Rogers, etc, mismatched, some monogrammed, but a full set of flatware. Cons: I'll have to buy a chest for it, spend time polishing all of it, DH thinks our good-quality stainless steel is just fine. Pros: I don't know the pattern names, but research I've done indicates silver-plated flatware has no resale value, so its only value is if we keep it and use it. I'm having trouble just donating it or putting it in a yard sale. I think the cons outweigh the pros, but I need help getting rid of it. Can you say the magic word that will help me let go? Thank you, all.

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:::waving my magic wand:::

The people that gave you those pieces did not give them with the expectation that you agonize over them. They are meant to be USED AND ENJOYED.
If that is not your family, let some other family enjoy them.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 1:00PM
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I totally concur with LuAnn. Sell them on CL, eBay, or donate them. They should not sit in a storage box.

My sister has our Mom's service for 12. She does polish them and use them for holidays. Since her family is much larger, they get a lot of use.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 1:34PM
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My grandmother used her silver (and it wasn't silverplate) every single day. I didn't even know it was real silver until I had been married for several years. Even with a gazillion grandkids in/out of the farmhouse, using it for god-knows-what (digging outside in the flowerbed), it survived and is still used today. Enjoy it! Use it! Please don't agonize over it.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 4:10PM
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Thank you, one and all. I'm finished with agonizing. I tried and tried to bundle it all up to donate, and it just doesn't feel right. I'm going to keep the pieces in the patterns I remember using as a kid, and will use them daily; the others I am donating today! When the silver wears off the pieces we're using, if it ever does, I won't have a problem kissing them good-bye. I'm so not a collector of "stuff". This seems like a good middle road. I'll love seeing the ones I keep every day. It feels very good to have made a decision. I'm the prez of a small nonprofit, so I can take them to our storage place this morning, along with other things I'm getting rid of, and they'll support a good cause. Thank you very much for your help. You did indeed say the right things.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2012 at 10:32AM
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I'm no help - I would never part with it!

    Bookmark   January 15, 2012 at 12:57PM
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"It feels very good to have made a decision."

Hooray, and congratulations!

    Bookmark   January 15, 2012 at 2:09PM
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t-bird, why? My sis and her DH built a whole huge log palace in the forest so far from everything else, way bigger than they needed (I mean WAY!), thinking that their kids would visit frequently, they would leave it to their kids when they die, etc. Their kids don't visit that frequently, don't want a log home, and don't want to live miles away from a city, so the whole thing was a dream that didn't materialize, and they had to sell it for way less than they thought they would when it was time to move. I'm not questioning your "I would never part with it", but I hope (for the sake of the emptying out and organizing you have as a goal) you have a practical reason for keeping it. Seeing my silver, stuck away in the attic, every five years did me no good at all, and my kids didn't want it either, now or later.

LuAnn, just took it over to our nonprofit storage, along with a bunch of other stuff, and it still feels good. Thanks for the yay!

    Bookmark   January 15, 2012 at 4:08PM
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Good for you Susanka! If you don't love it, use it or it brings you happiness ... let it go! Holding onto stuff out of guilt is no good.

I keep telling my mother this too. She has so many items that were my grandmother's or great-grandmother's. She doesn't use them and they take up valuable real-estate in her china cabinet. I think she's finally ready ... this winter we are going to work on purging and organizing together (fun mother/daughter project).

Just for your future information. There is a company in the US called Replacements. If you send them a photo of your item they will try and track down the pattern info for you. They also buy items. They helped me with my Great-grandmother's silver plate (which I'll admit is in the original chest tucked away in my guest closet). I don't even like the pattern so it will be going this winter.

I am learning to live with less. We really don't need so much stuff. Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: Replacements

    Bookmark   January 15, 2012 at 4:58PM
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I think you came to a great compromise! It is what I would have suggested that you do. You kept the things you will use. Someone else will enjoy those other pieces.


    Bookmark   January 15, 2012 at 11:06PM
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Sorry susanka - no good reason - I just wouldn't.

I have very few items of my grandmothers. a tea pot and cream and sugar contianer. Some doilies and lace she made ( and I am not a doily person.

I just wouldn't give it away. I suppose if you checked with all your cousins and none wanted it then I guess you all have what you want. But I'd be upset if my cousins gave away such without asking around to see if anyone else in the family wanted it.

I was the last grandchild - born when my grandma was 84, and she died when I was 1 or 2. My cousins are in some cases up to 40 years older than I, and I couldn't even tell you all their names, so I guess I just got left out of whatever was available so I wouldn't give up what little I have. My other grandma died when my father was 3, so nothing from that side at all.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2012 at 11:07AM
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I think it's a great decision!

Very smart, a really good example. Keep the ones that make you smile, and send the other ones off into the world.

Maybe someone will be glad to get a piece of the flatware they remember using at Grandma's.

I just bought my mom a placesetting of the silverplate she received as a wedding present and lost over the years.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2012 at 9:46PM
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Great idea on Replacements! They will buy from you, too.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 7:30PM
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